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Eagles News: The case for delaying NFL free agency

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Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 3/14/20.

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NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell Press Conference Photo by Tim Bradbury/Getty Images

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NFL should delay start of free agency now, not on Sunday - PFT
For the teams that have wisely closed their facilities, it will be difficult if not impossible to host free agents for visits or to welcome them to sign contracts and to conduct a celebratory (in normal years) press conference with the media. Owners overpay players in the first days of free agency in part to secure that bump in the organization’s profile. If that won’t be happening, teams won’t be getting the full bang for their free-agency megabucks. Undoubtedly, the league will see how bad the optics would be (the league quite likely already understands that), and the league will delay free agency until a time when it will be more sane to start the spending insanity. As we reported last night, that’s the decision the league currently is expected to announce on Sunday, after voting on the new CBA closes — and thus can’t be further extended. It’s the smart thing to do, and it’s the right thing to do. And it would be even more smart and right to do it now.

Where the Eagles (and the NFL) stand in their response to coronavirus - PhillyVoice
Yes, free agents and teams don’t necessarily have to meet face-to-face to consummate deals, but with teams potentially not operating at 100 percent capacity as a result of facility shutdowns, the NFL is likely, in my view, to delay free agency. And then there’s the “fun factor” of free agency, which is essentially like a gift-receiving holiday for football fans, who are excited to learn about the players their team just signed. Conducting this event during one of the worst pandemics of the last century will certainly put a damper on it. It just makes sense to postpone it until some level of societal normalcy returns.

8 XFL players the Eagles could consider signing - BGN
The XFL cancelled the remainder of their 2020 regular season due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to an official announcement from the league. As a result, XFL players are now reportedly free to sign with NFL teams. This is noteworthy since it was previously established that XFL players wouldn’t be able to sign with NFL clubs until after the 2020 NFL Draft in late April. Reports indicate it’s possible that the NFL free agency starting date gets pushed back but teams can get a jump on making roster additions by signing XFL talent. The Philadelphia Eagles could easily get involved after watching them sign some players after the Alliance of American Football (AAF) collapsed last year. Here are some XFL players that the Eagles could consider bringing to Philly.

More on Lord Byron - Iggles Blitz
Brian Baldinger put together some clips showing his ability. These aren’t just highlights. This package will give you a feel for his realistic ability. Baldy leaves some completions in there and shows the 3 TDs that were thrown on Jones. I think it is important that we deal with reality. There is no true shutdown corner available. Heck, I’m not sure if there is a true shutdown corner in the league. Stephon Gilmore is probably the closes to that. His ability to stay close to receivers really jumps out to anyone who watched the 2019 Eagles. There were too many instances where receivers were wide open. Rasul Douglas and Jalen Mills lack deep speed. Ronald Darby can’t stay healthy or play the ball up high when he is healthy. Sidney Jones lacks confidence. Avonte Maddox is much better in the slot than outside.

NFL insider notes: 13 matches between free agents and teams that make perfect sense - CBS Sports
Eagles — Byron Jones. Them sitting out the A.J. Bouye trade tells me this always-aggressive front office has a few aces in the hole, and corner is the biggest issue on the roster. This guy would make an immediate impact on that secondary and could be lined up in a variety of ways.

Ranking the 100 best available NFL free agents remaining in 2020 - PFF
9. CB BYRON JONES. A move to cornerback rejuvenated Jones’ career in 2018, as he showed that he could play single coverage on the outside at a high level. He finished with the 14th-best coverage grade among corners in 2018 (80.4) before dropping to 21st in 2019 (74.8), but those are extremely valuable numbers as he hits the open market. Many will point to Jones not picking off a pass over the last two years, but his 74.1 coverage grade in single coverage is 11th-best during that time, and he has also shown the ability to match up against tight ends when called upon. Jones brings youth and coverage ability to the open market, making him the top defensive free agent heading into the offseason.

Free agency signals changes for Eagles’ secondary, receiving corps - ESPN
A mid-level pull at wide receiver. You better believe the Eagles are going to be active on the wide receiver front this offseason, but with an extremely talented class awaiting in this year’s NFL draft, most of the fireworks will probably come in April. Still, it’s in the Eagles’ best interest to add a veteran receiver via free agency. Robby Anderson’s price tag might prove to be too high, but players such as Breshad Perriman, Phillip Dorsett, Demarcus Robinson and Randall Cobb would improve the group without breaking the bank.

The NFL’s 2020 Free Agent Class Could Reset the Pass Rush vs. Pass Coverage Debate - The Ringer
No one is arguing that Lawrence isn’t an excellent player who deserved the $65 million guaranteed he got in his extension last April. But as the Cowboys do a forensic check on their cap situation, Lawrence’s $22 million cap hit in each of the next two seasons looks pretty glaring. Even if Lawrence’s deal made sense at the time, Dallas now has to figure out how to re-sign Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper, and others while paying Lawrence the 13th-highest cap hit at any position in the NFL. Another consequence of the Lawrence deal (along with the Ezekiel Elliott and Jaylon Smith extensions) is that the Cowboys will have to let cornerback Byron Jones walk in free agency. As a 27-year-old former first-round pick, Jones doesn’t fit the profile of a player that typically hits the market. He has no interceptions over the past two seasons, but since moving to outside cornerback two years ago, Jones has emerged as one of the most consistent coverage players in the league. His market will be a fascinating case study of how the league currently values pass coverage.

NFL free agency: Eagles need to find a way to keep Malcolm Jenkins - NBCSP
This should be pretty simple. I understand the Eagles want to get younger. I understand they don’t want to set a precedent where players dictate when they get paid. I understand they have other positions of need where money should and will go. But they have to figure out a way to get Malcolm Jenkins back for the 2020 season. They have to make him happy. Jenkins, 32, is one of the Eagles’ best players, he plays multiple positions in Jim Schwartz’s defense, he never leaves the field and he’s the unquestioned leader on his side of the ball. The Eagles just can’t afford to lose him. It’s as simple as that.

Troy Aikman thinks using the franchise tag on Dak Prescott could have “damaging effects” - Blogging The Boys
“I know Jerry has talked about wanting to sign him, to me it is a no-brainer, you’re right. I’m surprised it hasn’t happened. I think, I’d hate to think what might happen or how Dak might feel if they end up going the franchise tag route. I just don’t think that’s going to be in the best interest of all parties. And ultimately I don’t think it’s in the best interest of the Cowboys and it could have damaging effects in my opinion. I’m hopeful they get a deal done.”

Vikings Release Linval Joseph, Xavier Rhodes, David Morgan - Daily Norseman
The release of Xavier Rhodes comes as no surprise to most Vikings fans. Rhodes was an All-Pro in 2017, but his play had significantly declined over the past two seasons. His 2020 salary cap number was $12.9 million, which was simply far too much for a player that was one of the worst graded cornerbacks in the league by Pro Football Focus in 2019. Releasing Rhodes comes with a dead cap hit of $4.8 million, but it also provides $8.1 million in cap relief.

CeeDee Lamb might not be the draft’s top WR, but he could have the best NFL career - SB Nation
It’s impossible for me to avoid comparing CeeDee Lamb to Jerry Jeudy. I would say that even if Jeudy hadn’t been the only receiver I’ve done a breakdown on to this point. They are two of the top receiver prospects in this year’s draft, and there are many similarities between them. Lamb and Jeudy “look” the same, with both guys measuring in at a little over 6’1 and weighing over 190 pounds. They were both used in a multitude of ways in their respective offenses — Jeudy at Alabama, Lamb at Oklahoma — this past season. I saw them both running a bunch of shallow crossers, quick outs, quick slants, jet sweeps, and a ton of screens from both out wide and in the slot. They also both showed big-play potential, although the way they made those big plays often diverged.

How canceled events and self-quarantines save lives, in one chart - Vox
The main uncertainty in the coronavirus outbreak in the United States now is how big it will get, and how fast. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Nancy Messonnier told reporters on March 9, “many people in the US will at some point, either this year or next, get exposed to this virus.” According to infectious disease epidemiologist Marc Lipsitch at Harvard, it’s “plausible” that 20 to 60 percent of adults will be infected with Covid-19 disease. So far, 80 percent of cases globally have been mild, but if the case fatality rate is around 1 percent (which several experts say it may be), a scenario is possible of tens or hundreds of thousands of deaths in the US alone.


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